Screen Gems, Maverick eye defunct prod'n company's properties

Five months after Destination’s demise, Sony has snagged U.S. distribution rights to “Slackers” and North American rights on “Buying The Cow.” Both finished films were purchased from the now-defunct shingle’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy sale and are slated for theatrical release via Sony’s Screen Gems label in 2002.

Also sifting through the ashes is Madonna’s Maverick Films, which recently hired former Destination production exec Mark Morgan to oversee its film development slate. Among those titles will be two projects he worked on while at Destination — the romantic comedy “If Only” from scribe Christina Welch, and the horror/thriller “The Box.” Based on the myth of Pandora’s Box and penned by Jeffrey Miller, “The Box” will be developed with Robert Lewis’ Southpaw Media Group.

Morgan is also in early negotiations to acquire the ping-pong themed comedy “Any Idiot Can Play,” written by Dax Shelby and Robert Stevens.

Sony, which is also eyeing a number of Destination’s scripts and library titles, essentially had first dibs on the Destination bankruptcy booty since the studio served as Destination’s life support during its last year of existence. The troubled Destination had a video output deal via Columbia TriStar, an arrangement that proved to be a lifesaver when the studio advanced video profits to the indie in order to keep it afloat. (Daily Variety, Feb. 28.)

Col also took over “The Wedding Planner” from Destination when it did not have enough cash to see the film through production.

Pic Revolution

Revolution Studios previously extricated rights to another Destination project, “Hogan’s Heroes” (Daily Variety, May 17), while Newmarket now holds rights to another former Destination script, “The Wheelman.”

“Slackers” stars Jason Schwartzmann (“Rushmore”) as a geeky college kid who must choose between being able to scam his way through college or being with his dream girl. “Buying The Cow” stars Jerry O’Connell and Bridgette Wilson in the story of a commitment-phobic young man and his marriage-hungry girlfriend.

Negotiating for Screen Gems were Clint Culpepper, exec VP acquisitions and productions, and Matthew Dixon, VP acquisitions and business affairs.

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